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Thread: Production Habaki and Machi

  1. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Remy B View Post
    In short, this means that a production habakis that has no machigane (like most prod habaki i presume? not certain there) have no contact with the ha side of the nakago (the pink zone on this picture respresent the empty space) and that is what might make it dangerous.
    Honestly I don't know how many have a small machigane and how many don't. I've seen some without. I've seen some with a small "token" machigane. But if it isn't being held properly due to a consistent tightness along the ha and mune then all that force is on the machi of the sword. Something will distort. Most likely the hamachi will deform the habaki at that point and allow it to rotate a bit. That changes the angles and you'll see space on the ha side between the fittings. Things will start to rattle but popping in a new seppa won't really help as the angles have changed too.

    But the reality is that there are all sorts of issues like these on inexpensive swords. That's why they're inexpensive -- you have to cut corners on things like fit and finish. Unfortunately for Japanese swords a great deal of the integrity of the final product depends almost completely on the quality of fit and finish. More time spent, better, more carefully fit parts, more hand fitting, higher grade materials, more time spent making sure everything is right, qualified inspections and quality control... Pretty soon you're selling swords at over $1000 a pop. Because those things all have costs.

    It is funny how perceptions change. I remember the first generation of swords from China way back when. And I was astounded that you could get what we got then for close to $1000. Unfortunately most of the efforts in the production market has been to find more ways to cut corners to get costs down.

    And there is a important theory in information theory about compression that applies here. You can only losslessly compress information so much (zip files, etc.). There is a core amount of "basic" information in the file. At some point you have to start using "lossy" methods if you want to get the file size smaller. That's fine with some things (JPEG for image files, mp3 for audio, etc.). But with other things (your financial records), well, you can't make it smaller without losing things that are critical. There are limits to the compression. The same is true with cutting costs on swords. On the high end there are really nice pieces that are great. But as prices drop there are always sacrifices. And there is some point below which sacrifices in price become essential sacrifices in safety and quality. The very essence of the sword as a tool suffers. I'm not sure where that magic point is, but in surfing these forums I think it is pretty obvious that there are a lot of inexpensive swords that have lost essential parts of what makes a sword a safe, quality tool.
    Keith Larman
    Summerchild Polishing and Modertosho Modern Japanese Swords
    "They say I have ADD, but ... Hey, look, a chicken!"

  2. #27
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    Keith if you was a women I would kiss you
    Thanks for the great post.
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  3. #28
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    Thumbs up

    Keith, you rock. Seriously, posts like yours are the main reason the existence of this forum is justified.

    As rhetorical question, maybe.. but.. I wonder how much it would cost to have a inexpensive, through-hardened production *blade* like Cheness 9260 or KC 5160, fitted properly at the source (or more likely "at the outsource")..
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  4. #29
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    This may be a world-record-stupid question but.. if a production-habaki is in contact with hamachi and clearly creates a pressure-point there, would it be better to use a needle-file to make a notch in the habaki (a bit like Hanwei-habaki, not necessarily as deep) than let it be?
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  5. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruud B View Post
    Keith if you was a women I would kiss you
    Thanks for the great post.

    I promise I won’t kiss you Keith, but could I borrow your brain over the weekend? If you don’t need it yourself that is.

    PS. I could kiss your wife though, if my wife would allow that, or your wife for that matter, or yourself perhaps.
    Last edited by Mats Gustavsson; 01-07-2008 at 07:30 AM.

  6. #31
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    Well i own one production blade that i bought before instructing myself and the habaki doesnt have machigane because it is cast silver and the inside is shimed with bamboo pieces... real crappy all around so noone on earth will convince me that casting a habaki is the good way to do it

  7. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Remy B View Post
    Well i own one production blade that i bought before instructing myself and the habaki doesnt have machigane because it is cast silver and the inside is shimed with bamboo pieces... real crappy all around so noone on earth will convince me that casting a habaki is the good way to do it
    Shimmed habaki, now that's novel!
    Certified nerd; if you need an Excel sheet or an AutoCAD drawing done, just drop me a PM!

  8. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by Remy B View Post
    Well i own one production blade that i bought before instructing myself and the habaki doesnt have machigane because it is cast silver and the inside is shimed with bamboo pieces... real crappy all around so noone on earth will convince me that casting a habaki is the good way to do it
    I'll grant that the way habaki are usually cast for swords is a terrible way to go. That doesn't mean, however, that it isn't possible to do it well. And I've seen some hand forged habaki that were absolute garbage...
    Keith Larman
    Summerchild Polishing and Modertosho Modern Japanese Swords
    "They say I have ADD, but ... Hey, look, a chicken!"

  9. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruud B View Post
    do you want a picture of what can happen when such a habaki has to take some strain?
    Hi Ruud, it would be nice to know or see any damage that may have occcured to the ha machi. Thanks

    Jez

  10. #35
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    Hi Jez,
    there is no damage to the ha machi, or any other part of the blade.
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  11. #36
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    The 16th post of this recent thread has a good picture of un-even machi.

    http://forums.swordforum.com/showthread.php?t=87268
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  12. #37
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    Yes, that's a Thaitsuki Nihonto blade's Machis.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  13. #38
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    I couldn't resist; check out a prime example of a production habaki. Notice any gaps..?

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  14. #39
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    which maker is this? it looks like the habaki is shimed too.

  15. #40
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    it was some fleaBay chinatana retailer, can't remember which one (one of the new ones, IIRC).
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  16. #41
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    Finally, the definitive answer to the Citadel question:

    http://forums.swordforum.com/showthread.php?t=88381

    #10th post has a good picture by Ruud B.

    Not totally unexpected... but still less than what I'd expect in a $1K+ sword.....
    REAL Star Wars fans HATE Star Wars (and Lucas)... but LOVE the idea.

  17. #42
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    Hello Benjamin,
    can you explain what you expect?
    drawing would be real nice, thanks.
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  18. #43
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    Ruud, here is a picture of what I think is the "ideal"... in terms of the machis being even and parallel.



    On top is a nihonto and on bottom is your Citadel.
    REAL Star Wars fans HATE Star Wars (and Lucas)... but LOVE the idea.

  19. #44
    The facts of the matter are simple in that most of us do not and cannot own Nohinto, so we get production work, but so long as the quality of the material is good and the fit is tight all around with no gaps there is simply nothing to go wrong barring a person dose not abuse the weapon. For myself from what I have seen and herd there is simply nothing wrong at all with offset machi so long as the Habaki fit is true. No worries here just get as much info as possible about the company that produces the weapon and hopefully we don't get burned.[been there before ] I would dearly love to own a beautiful nohinto or very expensive custom job but until my ship comes in I will have to stick with very good Chen, Citadel, or what have you. Could not stand it any more had to put my two cents in.
    Last edited by David Henderson; 04-08-2008 at 03:39 PM.

  20. #45
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    For the price you pay for these high end production blade, i would personnaly expect to have even machi with a proprely fitted habaki since this is THE part that make the blade hold together.

  21. #46
    So long as the fittings of said Citadel sword or any other brand are done with proper consideration to fit and finish in my humble opinion and that's all it is, even with an uneven machi the sword is not going to fail on you, why should it, if the stresses are equal all around there is no problem, if that type of design bothers you just don't buy the product its that simple. Historically correct no, but I think a good product.
    Last edited by David Henderson; 04-08-2008 at 05:33 PM.

  22. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Henderson View Post
    So long as the fittings of said Citadel sword or any other brand are done with proper consideration to fit and finish in my humble opinion and that's all it is, even with an uneven machi the sword is not going to fail on you, why should it, if the stresses are equal all around there is no problem, if that type of design bothers you just don't buy the product its that simple. Historically correct no, but I think a good product.
    David, thanks for your posts. But have you read through all the posts on the first page? If not, please read in particular posts #19~#22. Especially the thorough explanation by Keith Larman about just WHY that kind of unevenness can be potentially dangerous. It is NOT just a matter of preference and it's certainly NOT just a pedantic concern with historicity. I'm also still just learning about this stuff and won't pretend to know more than I actually do. But when real professionals like Keith take the time from their busy schedule to write a post like that, I tend to quiet down and listen hard to what's being said.

    You are certainly entitled to your opinion about what you think is a good product (overall) or not. People far more knowledgeable than I am on this forum have already commented that Citadel makes a good product (again, overall). And I'm not trying to debate that at all, although I think for the kind of price tag on Citadel swords, the makers should definitely pay better attention to those kinds of details. And yeah, until they do, I probably won't buy a Citadel. But that's not what this thread is about... this thread is about what is both CORRECT and SAFE when it comes to habaki and machi. In other words, what you refer to as "proper attention to fit and finish" definitely has the above in mind as a part of it. Remy knows a TON more about swords than I do, and he's also definitely right that it is THE part that holds the entire sword together.
    Last edited by Benjamin P.; 04-08-2008 at 06:15 PM.
    REAL Star Wars fans HATE Star Wars (and Lucas)... but LOVE the idea.

  23. #48
    The Hibaki failing potentially dangerous I don't think so, when that happens and it usually is due to the incompetence of the sword owner trying to chop trees down, its a matter of the blade dropping like a limp you no what and the sword becoming unusable, the sword dose not fly apart from the handle unless the owner has forgotten to put that wee little peg back in place. I have seen the stupid things that happen with swords and nine times out of ten when bad things happen its always through stupidity and lack of training. You have your opinion and I have mine, I don't think ether of us is going to change, so ill bid you good night and good cutting, its been fun.

  24. #49
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    I have handled a blade with a failed habaki, and it DOES fall apart. Fuchi and tsuba come loose, then the ito. It may not come apart from the tsuka, but it does bad enough. Awful feedback from cuts, too. Should the sword go limp like a "you know what", then that is also a problem with the tsuka. It shouldn't have been cut with like that in the first place. The habaki is an indispensible player in keeping the whole unit as one.

    Furthermore, I've seen the shoddiest habaki hold up through sword abuse (IE a certain plastic habaki job). I have seen far more swords lost to edge damage, split tsuka, or simple snaps than habaki problems. Vice versa, I've seen great habaki split during normal heavy cutting exercises by highly skilled swordsmen. You can't say it's all human, or all product error.

    Also, (and this may have been brought up already. I've been reading through this thread over a few days, all broken up. Sorry if it has.) isn't the unparallel machi deal all part of cost reduction while maintaining proper aesthetics? The hamachi being on top of the habaki would still give the look of an encased hamachi, but would be a lot easier to produce.
    Last edited by Tsugio Kawakami; 04-08-2008 at 07:14 PM. Reason: Another thing...
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  25. #50
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    Pssst Benjamin, i dont know *this* much about swords but i think that i have red somewhere in my books that the habaki is the "heart" of the sword and this is probably why its the only part of the koshirae that never leave the blade even when it goes in its shirasaya.

    Anyways, Even machi shouldnt be a matter of taste but of safety and i honestly do not understand why most people just shrug it off as a cosmetic issue... when it clearly isnt.
    The reasons has been stated on numerous occasion in the previous posts.

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